The Gamble

Dillion smiled, covering his mouth with his hand. He turned and looked at the approaching train, trying not to laugh out loud. The train puffed dark smoke which dirtied the sky. Excited voices began calling around him, saying their final goodbyes, making it hard to hear.

“Are you going far?” she asked, trying to recover from her mishap.
“Julesburg,” he said shortly.
“Do you have relatives there?” she asked, stepping closer. The smell of her lotion was growing noxious. He wished that she would leave.
“Ma’am, I don’t wish to be impolite, but I have a lot on my mind right now. Perhaps if you could leave me to my thoughts, I could resolve them.”
“Well,” she huffed, taking a step away.
“Yes ma’am,” he said, tipping his hat. An old man in wilderness clothes looked from Dillion to the woman. There was a twinkle in his eyes.

Dillion found himself looking at the old man curiously. By all outward appearances he was a typical mountain man, dressed in fringed buckskin. He held a henry rifle in his hands and had two 1860 colt revolvers stuffed down in his homemade belt. That in itself was unusual. They were very expensive, generally too expensive for a mountain man. All in all, he looked like a westerner in a mountain man suit.

They exchanged glances. The man said nothing as the train pulled up in front of them. The soldiers immediately crowded around the baggage car, pushing everyone else aside. The door opened and more soldiers milled out through the open door. As they left the new soldiers hurried in.

“Ok, folks, all aboard,” the conductor yelled at the crowd. He checked tickets as the passengers boarded. This was unusual, normally they checked tickets while underway. As Dillion looked down the row of cars, he saw many men checking tickets. Dillion stopped and wordlessly extended his ticket. The conductor gave him a critical gaze, then nodded for him to board. Dillion forgot all about the envelope in his pocket. He immediately sought out his berth and fell asleep.

The double click of the tracks beneath the wheels had a hypnotic effect on Dillion. He slept soundly for several hours. He awoke just before 6:00 o’clock in the evening. The train was straining. He knew they must have reached the pass. He was about to go back to sleep when he smelled the strong scent of rose petals. He sniffed, then poked his head out from beneath the curtain. The moans from the bunk below caused him to peek through the crack above their curtain. The annoying woman was there, naked and sweating. He started to pull away, when a blue coat drew his attention to the man laying beside her. As Dillion watched, the soldier folded his coat and laid it at their feet. He was a lieutenant, Dillion noticed.

Dillion glanced around the sleeper, looking both ways before peeking back inside. The man laid on top of the annoying woman. They were kissing passionately for only a moment, before she began bouncing and moaning beneath him. Even during sex her hair was neat and perfect. Her head bounced slowly against the head of her berth, as the Lieutenant began savagely driving his cock between her open legs. Dillion could see a knee, a dark stocking, and her upper thigh from where he lay. He leaned farther over the edge of his bunk, until he could see one of her naked breasts. They were nice, he admitted to himself. She would be disappointed, of course, the Lieutenant was a damned poor lover.

Dillion pulled back into his bunk and took his pistol from beneath the pillow. Lowering his feet over the side, he dropped to the floor and holstered his weapon. He tried to ignore the sounds of sex going on behind him. He wrinkled his nose at the smell of her lotion and moved toward the dining cars.

Dillion needed to let his hard cock relax. As he stepped out on the platform between the cars, he lit a cigarette and gazed out over the mountains. A river roared below. Large pools, and rocks littered the fast-moving river. He tossed the butt of his cigarette out into the rocks and went inside the diner. He was a gambler and it was time to go to work.

“…I don’t know,” the conductor complained. He was surrounded by soldiers. He looked worried. Dillion suddenly remembered the envelope. He pulled it from his pocket and handed it to the conductor. A sergeant pushed Dillion away. The barrel of Dillion’s pistol tickled the soldier’s stomach. His eyes widened and he stepped back.

“Get your hands off me,” Dillion said in a low voice.
“Leave him alone,” the conductor said to the sergeant. He quickly opened the envelope and smiled. He handed the letter to the sergeant. “There you go,” he said in satisfaction.
“An old man dressed like you gave me that. I forgot it,” Dillion explained.
“Did you read this?” the sergeant demanded.
“You’re just trying like hell to get yourself killed,” Dillion said in amazement.
“I was just asking,” the sergeant said nervously.
“Well don’t do it again.”
“You have it in writing,” the conductor said. “We go to Denver.”
“I’ll have to show this to the Lieutenant,” the sergeant said. “I… I can’t seem to locate him.”
“Berth number 4, next car,” Dillion said with a smile. The sergeant stared at him for a moment, then nodded to a soldier. The soldier hurried out.
“How do you know?” the sergeant asked suspiciously.
“I am in number 5,” Dillion smiled.
The soldier came back, sweating and embarrassed. He glared at Dillion.
“Well?” the sergeant asked.
“He’s coming,” the soldier growled.
“Not any more,” Dillion broke out in laughter. The Lieutenant suddenly appeared, buttoning his jacket. He joined them and took the envelope.
“We go to Denver,” he said, handing the letter back to the sergeant. “It’s official, Washington is purchasing a new mint there.”
“I’ll be glad to get rid of that gold,” the conductor said, standing and looking at Dillion. “Much obliged,” he added. “You’d be smart to get off at the next stop, because we’ll sure as hell be robbed. I think they sent me idiots just to make sure of it,” he said, glancing at the soldiers. The sergeant bared his teeth. The Lieutenant pulled him away.

“How much gold?” Dillion asked quietly as the soldiers left.
“One million dollars,” the conductor whispered, “give or take a few thousand. But that’s just between the two of us.”
“A million?” Dillion gasped. The old man nodded sagely.
“You’d better leave too,” Dillion whispered.

Dillion failed to raise a game. It seemed that everyone was either sick, preoccupied, or worried. This did not make Dillion feel better. He sat playing solitaire until a shadow crossed the table. He smelled the unmistakable smell of roses.

“Your baggage get on board ok?” he asked without looking up.
“How did you know it was me?”
“I knew a woman once who got her hands on genuine French perfume. At first she used it wisely, just a little at a time. I have to admit, it smelled wonderful. As the months passed she had to use more and more, because her nose grew used to it and she couldn’t smell it any more. Eventually somebody told her, and she cut back a bit. Lotion can be as strong as perfume,” he smiled up at her.

“It’s that noticeable?” she asked in horror.

“Yes ma’am. There is a bath in the last berthing car,” he pointed toward the rear of the train. She hurried away without a word. Dillion chuckled and shook his head. He heard another chuckled and looked up to see the mountain man at the far end of the car.

Time passed quickly. Lulled by the gentle rock of the train, Dillion laid out stack after stack of cards. He was enjoying the solitude and solitaire was a gambler’s way of advertising. The lure of the cards drew in many who would not gamble otherwise.

“Drink?” the conductor said, taking a seat across from him. Dillion looked up. He was surprised to see that it was dark outside. He had been there for hours.
“Sure,” he said. The old man handed him a tin flask. Dillion took a telescoping cup from his pocket and poured half a glass. He handed the flask back with a nod.
“I feel better, now that we are through the pass,” the conductor said. “We’re moving along nicely.”
“Yes we are,” Dillion agreed. He laid an six of hearts on a seven of clubs. The conductor tapped the three. Dillion tried to suppress his annoyance. He hated people who did that. Some time later the conductor disappeared.

A vocal argument broke out between two men. They each separated before it became a shooting matter. A baby cried annoyingly. A man laughed, followed by the tinkling giggle of a woman. Dillion smiled without looking up. It was a happy sound. The old mountain man paused by his table and watched for several minutes, then moved on wordlessly. A swish of clothing drew Dillion’s eyes from his cards. He looked up to see the annoying woman standing by his side. She looked clean, fresh, and beautiful. Her smile was like a bright sunrise. She sure knew how to use her beauty to her advantage.

“Well,” he said in surprise.
“Am I presentable now?” she asked, holding her breath.
“Very,” he said, jumping to his feet. He ushered her into the opposite seat.
“You are in the berth above me,” she whispered, looking around.
“How did you know?”
“I saw you looking,” she smiled.
“I’m sorry about that.”
“Oh don’t be,” she slapped the back of his hand, scattering the cards. “I like an audience occasionally. It was the only thrilling thing about the encounter. The Lieutenant was called away,” she growled.
“Really? It must have been something important,” he said, trying to suppress a smile.
“Per… Well perhaps you could call on me later, near midnight?” she asked with a raised eyebrow.
“You seem bound and determined to get acquainted,” Dillion said, stacking the cards on the table. “Do you mind my asking why?”

“Oh no, sir, not at all,” she gasped with her hand on her chest. Once again he was annoyed at the artificial pose. She seemed to sense this and dropped her hand. She leaned closer in a confidential manner.

“If I don’t get bedded in the next few hours, I am going to go absolutely insane,” she said.
“Well when you put it that way, and you’ve gone to all this trouble, why wait? Let’s go now,” he said, standing. He guided her out of the booth. A look of desperation filled her face. Something was obviously not going according to her plans.
“No… we can’t, not yet,” she gasped.
“It’s too early. Besides, I… haven’t eaten yet.”

“We have one of those new Pullman dining cars which will be open for hours and they are serving coffee and sandwiches all night. Come on,” he pulled her along. She resisted for a moment, then followed helplessly behind him. The conductor looked at them and shook his head in admiration. Dillion tried to give him a warning look. The conductor sat up in alarm and stared around the room. He relaxed over his coffee again as Dillion left.

Pages: 1 2 3 4

One Comment

Post your comment